ORLANDO - This has been something that’s needed to be said more often during the past few years. It’s time for people to make public statements about it, too.
The vast number of Florida high school coaches that consistently recruit players from other high school programs is embarrassing. It’s a daily event -- across the state of Florida -- that’s not really even hidden that much.
If one has access to a private conversation with a Florida high school coach, comments regarding the need to recruit players being necessary could be heard. Some of these coaches are tired of watching their star players being pilfered by other coaches, so they retaliate and recruit players as well. It’s a war.
There needs to be change at multiple levels; first there needs to be accountability by high schools themselves. Coaches, principles, athletic directors, etc. Most of them claim innocence on record, but know exactly what’s going on with their respective programs.
The issue: most do not want to be involved in the political battle that ensues with calling out someone for recruiting a player, especially if it's their own high school program doing the recruiting.
That’s horrible leadership.
Next, there needs to be involvement from the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). It’s the entity that runs the Florida football playoffs, sets basic rules for Florida prep football, and helps host the state title games at various locations. That particular organization needs to be outwardly blunt about its stance towards the cheating that’s going on in the state of Florida. Here’s a short podcast about the cheating that’s going on and defining what the FHSAA needs to do and why:
Without going into a full-blown diatribe about the mess that continues to get larger each year with transfers, note the following.
Before this current high school football season began, roughly 2,000 players transferred between the end of the 2020 season and the middle of July 2021. That’s correct. Look at the number again.
Roughly 2,000. Good friend and recruiting industry colleague Dwight Thomas keeps track of just about every Florida prep player that moves on to a new program. Mr. Thomas works for Catapult Sports, a service that sends Florida High School player’s information to college coaches for free. You can find him here: @Dwight_XOS.
As thorough as he may be, there are likely a few players that moved on to different high school football programs and Thomas does not not even know about it. In the state of Florida, it's like there is a rent-a-high-school-football-program for a week campaign going on and it just runs on repeat each week.
That number includes players that transferred two and three times in one single year. What’s going on? Changing high schools should not be like changing a shirt. There need to be stringent regulations for how and when a Florida high school football player transfers.
Those regulations need to go into effect at the conclusion of the 2021 Florida high school football season, if not sooner, so that some sense of order can be restored. There’s one other issue that needs to be addressed with the transfers.
Too many of these young men are just that, young. They listen to the so-called adults all around them. Some of those people receive poor advice. Consistently hearing how parents and friends are dissatisfied with the amount of playing time they receive or recruiting attention they receive can be commonplace at any given Florida high school football program. That’s a big reason for the transfers, too.
Florida high school football players need to go through a process of becoming stronger, faster, and learning their craft. For every Gabe Dindy that plays at Lakeland High School and can compete with any prep player in the country, there are 1,000 or more high school players that are lucky to be starting at their respective program.
Not every player is headed for Division I college football and fewer yet for the SEC or ACC or Big 10. Be realistic. If you want to know what a ‘Dude’ is go watch Dindy’s highlights on Hudl. It’s why he has about 50 scholarship offers.
After watching him literally out run someone that's 90 pounds lighter than himself, and that player he out ran will also be a Division I player, there was no doubt that Dindy was a special athlete.
As for being measured by other coaches and parents, Dindy should be considered an exception, not a rule.
For most players, it’s just not happening when it comes to playing major college football. Instead, they need to worry about being good players in high school, and that’s a process.
There's a three-to-five year process between middle school and the time that most Florida prep players will truly be ready to be high school starters, assuming a player is ever good enough to start in high school.
It just depends on the player in question for a particular debate. Parents, friends, relatives, and anyone else in a young man’s ear need to be careful. Football is a really hard sport to become truly good at, let alone good enough to earn scholarship offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Florida, Clemson, and Southern California like Dindy.
Will there be any form of change with this debacle? Time will tell, but it’s definitely needed, and needed soon.
For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast; it will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more insights go Twitter, @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!